Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence or abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background. Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include: coercive control and ‘gaslighting’, economic abuse, online abuse, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.
A physical assault is a crime and is more obvious to friends and family, and victims are more likely to seek help. Police officers have a duty to take positive action when dealing with domestic assaults and abuse incidents. Sometimes you could be a victim without being aware.
How to avoid identify domestic abuse and assault
If you believe that you or someone else could be a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for.
- being withdrawn, or being isolated from family and friends
- having bruises, burns or bite marks
- having finances controlled, or not being given enough to buy food or pay bills
- not being allowed to leave the house, or stopped from going to college or work
- having your internet or social media use monitored, or someone else reading your texts, emails or letters
- being repeatedly belittled, put down or told you are worthless
- being pressured into sex
- being told that abuse is your fault, or that you’re overreacting
What to do if you have been a victim of domestic assault
Speak to a responsible close friend and take advice. Assault or abuse is unacceptable behaviour.
If the abuse has developed into physical assault then the police should be informed and measures put in place to stop the violence and abuse. This usually means the aggressor will be requested to leave the marital/family home. In the majority of cases the abuse, if not stopped, will continue and exacerbate and the violence increase.
Nobody deserves to be a victim of domestic abuse or assault so try to take action and allow friends, family, police and support services help you.
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